Sex is the new religion in America, and it's a religion of the sword. That's the real reason this controversy has risen in Indiana. A determined and vocal minority from the religion of sex is bullying and cutting down traditionalists who need a law that would allow them to be left alone. This clash of orthodoxies has opposing values with moralists on both sides demanding their rights.
One side says, "Everyone must celebrate my same-sex marriage" (a moral position). And the other side says, "God or my conscience prevents me from doing so" (also a moral position). Can anyone see any middle ground here? There is none. So the question is: Whose moral "right" will take precedence?
Governors in Indiana, Arkansas and several other states see the need for protecting religious liberty for a very good reason—it is under attack. The scales have tipped decidedly against the free exercise of traditional religion—against the right of Christians, Muslims, Jews and anyone else who can't celebrate the orthodoxy of the new religion.
Forget tolerance. This is well beyond tolerance. Now, if you don't agree to celebrate same-sex marriage, believers in the religion of sex will commence an inquisition and, without a trial, punish you for heresy. That's why this legislation is necessary. Florists, bakers, photographers, real estate agents, Internet CEOs and speakers like myself have all discovered personally that the people who say they are fighting for "tolerance" are often the most intolerant. In the name of "inclusion and diversity," those of us who have a diverse view are being excluded, and even fired and fined because we won't violate our beliefs to satisfy the overbearing clergy of the religion of sex.
A few years ago Cisco and Bank of America fired me as a training consultant because I had conservative beliefs about sex and marriage, even though my beliefs were never expressed on the job. When a homosexual manager at Cisco found out on the Internet that I had authored a book giving evidence that maintaining the natural definition of marriage would be best for society, he couldn't tolerate me and demanded that I be fired. An HR executive canned me within hours without ever speaking to me. This happened despite the fact that the leadership and teambuilding programs I led always received high marks (even from the homosexual manager!).
While I'm probably in the minority, I believe that people have the right to choose with whom they do business. In other words, I support Cisco's right to fire me. My problem, as I explained here, is that they falsely claimed to be "inclusive and diverse" when they are anything but that. Their orthodoxy is just as closed and narrow as the most rabid fundamentalist church.
My friends David and Jason Benham agree with freedom of association and the rights of businesses as well. When members of the religion of sex learned that the evangelical Benham brothers were violating orthodoxy by being pro-life and pro-natural marriage, an inquisition began to get the Benhams fired from their TV show. Executives from HGTV ultimately caved to the demands of the dogmatic priests and cancelled the show, which was already in production. When Jason Benham told a TV reporter that HGTV had the right to fire them, the reporter's jaw dropped. The Benhams are actually tolerant! So are most Christians (although there are some bad apples in every group).
Somehow people are getting the wrong impression about these state laws that seek to protect religious liberty. (Not that the media would ever misrepresent an issue related to homosexuality—we all know how fair and balanced they are.) This one graphic shows how these laws work. You'll notice that they do not allow businesses to deny anyone service at a retail establishment. No one is doing that now, and you wouldn't be in business very long if you did. The free market would see to it. Moreover, those who actually follow Jesus want to be with and serve unbelievers as Jesus did. We just can't advocate events or ideas that go against Christ's teaching on marriage (Matt. 19:4-6).
The truth is these laws are not swords but shields. They are intended to shield those in the traditional religions from those in the religion of sex who would like to use the sword of government to force the traditionalists to participate in ceremonies that go against their religion or conscience. In other words, the laws are designed to prevent discrimination against the traditionalists, not enable them to discriminate against those in the religion of sex.
America has a long history of successfully balancing a variety of religious and moral beliefs with other important interests. For example, even when military service was involuntary, we still made room for conscientious objectors who did not want to carry weapons. If we can allow people to exempt themselves from defending the country—which is the most important responsibility our government has—we can certainly allow people to exempt themselves from performing same-sex wedding ceremonies!
What compelling government interest is there to force someone to support a same-sex wedding? It's not like there is a shortage of people willing to do them. If a 70 year-old grandmother who is a florist can't arrange flowers at your same-sex wedding, why not just go to someone else who would be happy to do it? Why don't we ever hear about traditionalists suing gay business owners for refusing to print up anti-gay marriage fliers? Why is "tolerance" only a one-way street to the religion of sex?
Should a Muslim caterer be forced to do a same-sex wedding? Should a Muslim T-shirt maker be forced to print gay pride T-shirts or those that satirize Mohammad? (The religion of sex would prefer we don't use Muslims in our questions; stick to Christians please.)
There is no compelling government interest to force a business to do a wedding or print up anything against their beliefs. That's why the religion of sex is distorting the facts and throwing a temper tantrum to get government to force people to violate their conscience. (Their approach reminds me of what bad preachers write in the margin of their sermon notes: "Logic weak here—pound pulpit!") Apparently, the religion of sex just can't tolerate the fact that some people won't accept their false doctrines on faith.
I wish there was a compromise position here but there isn't. We have two opposing values in direct conflict. The religion of sex values the sword of government compulsion over the freedom of religion and conscience. Do you?
Frank Turek is the president of crossexamined.org, coauthor of I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, and the author of the new book Stealing From God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case.
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